Connect with us

Biotech

MIT Researchers Engineer Programmable Gut Bacteria

Published

on

MIT researchers have developed sensors, memory switches, and circuits that can be encoded in common human gut bacteria. These basic computing elements will allow the bacteria to sense, memorize, and respond to signals in the gut. Future medical applications of programmable gut bacteria might include early detection and treatment of diseases.

// -- Discuss and ask questions in our community on Workplace.

In a Cell Systems paper titled “Programming a Human Commensal Bacterium, Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, to Sense and Respond to Stimuli in the Murine Gut Microbiota,” the researchers described a series of computing elements, sensors, memory switches, and circuits that can be encoded in common human gut bacteria. The paper, which is freely available online at the moment, states that “These results provide a blueprint for engineering new chassis and a resource to engineer Bacteroides for surveillance of or therapeutic delivery to the gut microbiome.”

Advanced Genetic Computing Circuits for Noninvasive Diagnostics and Therapeutics

programmable-gut-bacteriaThe image shows programmable bacteria (white) activated by chemical signals (small green dots) to express specific genes.

// -- Become a yearly Platinum Member and save 69 USD and get access to our secret group on Workplace. Click here to change your current membership -- //

Genetic circuits had previously been built inside model organisms such as E. coli, but this time the researchers wanted to work with common bacteria abundantly present in human guts. “We wanted to work with strains like B. thetaiotaomicron that are present in many people in abundant levels, and can stably colonize the gut for long periods of time,” said team co-leader Timothy Lu.

The team developed a series of genetic parts that can be used to precisely program gene expression within the bacteria. “Using these parts, we built four sensors that can be encoded in the bacterium’s DNA that respond to a signal to switch genes on and off inside B. thetaiotaomicron,” said team co-leader Christopher Voigt.

GraphicalAbstract_v10The researchers added to the bacteria a form of genetic memory to enable them to sense, remember and report on pathologies in the gut, including signs of bleeding or inflammation. To do this they used proteins that can record information into bacterial DNA by acting on specific DNA addresses. The scientists also implemented a technology known as CRISPR interference, which can be used to control which genes are turned on or off in a bacterium.

“We aim to expand our genetic toolkit to a wide range of bacteria that are important commensal organisms in the human gut,” said Lu, adding that programmable bacteria that sense and respond to signs of disease could also be used elsewhere in the body and include more advanced genetic computing circuits for noninvasive diagnostics and therapeutics.

The progmammable bacteria have been tested in mice. Though it will take time to refine, test and deploy programmable bacteria in human, we can envisage the possibility of engineered cells, permanently resident in our guts, which keep us healthy. Tom Ellis, group leader of the Centre for Synthetic Biology at Imperial College London, said:

These could do tasks like sensing and recording, or even in-situ synthesis of therapeutic molecules as and when they are needed.

Images from MIT, Cell Systems, and Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest money you can't afford to lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here.



Feedback or Requests?

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. englishvinal

    July 11, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Unadulterated BS…. not that “they” can’t DO what they are saying they can do….
    … But this is one more horribly UN-natural invasion of the human body. Look at what they have managed to create thus far with their “scientific miracles”…. MRSA.. C-Dif… a plague of hypertension, heart disease, cancer……
    Great Work…… So let us burn a white candle… that the people are getting skeptical enough now so that they will NOT suck this up and volunteer to be test animals…..

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Biotech

Biotech Dominates July Penny Stock Picks

Published

on

July brings new opportunities to trade penny stocks, according to the Investopedia top 10 penny stocks to watch. Biotechnology stocks in particular are poised for a breakout. Biotechnology funds broke out of the long-term basing pattern in June, forcing rotational buying pressure, which bodes well for the low-priced sub-sector, with many penny stocks ready to hit multi-year highs.

// -- Discuss and ask questions in our community on Workplace.

At the same time, the tech sector is getting sold with equal force in a profit-taking exercise that could deliver a period of under-performance for the sector’s lower-priced issues.

June’s biotechnology picks drew strong buying interest, led by ImmunoGen, Inc.’s 48% advance to a 52-week high. Small China stocks also posted strength, as China Commercial Credit, Inc. gained close to 35%. China Commercial Credit and June’s three biotech picks return to the July top penny stock list, joined by six new penny stocks.

1. ImmunoGen Inc. (IMGN)

Source: Investopedia

// -- Become a yearly Platinum Member and save 69 USD and get access to our secret group on Workplace. Click here to change your current membership -- //

ImmunoGen, a provider of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) for the treatment of cancer, jumped from number four in June to the top spot in July.

The stock posted a 12-year high at $20.25 in 2013 and sold off to $5.34 in December 2014. A recovery in 2015 stalled less than a point below the prior peak, creating a decline that continued into an 18-year low at $1.51 in November 2016.

Buyers took over in 2017, generating an uptick that reversed at the 2014 resistance approximately three weeks ago. In June, the stock broke out and made the top 10 list for the first time. It could end up in the $8.00 to $10.00 price zone.

ImmunoGen creates targeted cancer therapeutics using its proprietary ADC technology. The company’s candidate, mirvetuximab soravtansine, is in a Phase 3 trial for an ovarian cancer, and is in Phase 1b/2 testing in combination regimens for earlier-stage disease.

The technology is used in Roche’s Kadcyla, in three other clinical-stage ImmunoGen product candidates, and in programs in development by Amgen, Bayer, Biotest, CytomX, Lilly, Novartis, Sanofi and Takeda.

2. China Commercial Credit, Inc. (CCCR)

Source: Investopedia

China Commercial Credit Inc. (CCCR), which provides business loans and loan guarantee services to small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), farmers and individuals in China’s Jiangsu Province, jumped from number five in June to second place in July.

The company went public on the U.S. exchanges at $6.50 in August 2013.

The stock experienced a downtrend that bottomed out at 25 cents in February 2016 and began an upward trend that stalled at $3.20 in September. The stock hit a higher low in March 2017 before recovering, testing the 2016 high. A breakout should bring broad buying interest that could support a continued upside that could double the price by year’s end.

The company was founded in 2008 and provides business loans and loan guarantee services to small-to-medium enterprises, farmers and individuals in China’s Jiangsu Province.

3. CymaBay Therapeutics, Inc. (CBAY)

Source: Investopedia

CymaBay Therapeutics Inc. (CBAY), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing therapies to treat specialty and orphan diseases, returns from the June list, where it ranked number 9. The stock rallied to an all-time high at $13.78 in February 2015, then suffered a steep downtrend that continued into the first quarter of 2016. The stock then dropped to an all-time low at 82 cents before bouncing to $3.04 in April, a yearly high, ahead of a pullback that continued into the November low at $1.15.

The stock broke above the 2016 high in February 2017, reaching a two-year high at $4.81.

Net loss for the 2017 first quarter was $5.4 million, or ($0.20) per diluted share, compared to $6.8 million, or ($0.29) per diluted share in the first quarter of 2016. Net loss in the 2017 first quarter was $1.4 million lower compared to the prior year period, primarily due to the recognition of collaboration revenue in 2017.

The rally has now reached a two-year high, attracting buying interest that could move into double digits.

4. Peiris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (PIRS)

Source: Investopedia

Pieris Pharmaceuticals Inc., a, clinical-stage biotechnology company committed to providing solutions for oncology, respiratory disease and other therapeutic areas, moved from June’s 7th spot to July’s 4th spot. The stock launched on the OTC market in 2014, trading between $2.00 and $4.25 before falling to $1.26 in January 2016. It ground sideways through November, then tested the first-quarter low ahead of a January 2017 breakaway gap that has drawn steady buying interest. The rally gathered momentum in early May after announcing a partnership with AstraZeneca PLC and is currently testing the 2015 high, the all-time high.

The company’s product includes immuno-oncology multi-specifics tailored for the tumor microenvironment, an inhaled Anticalin protein to treat uncontrolled asthma as well as a half-life-optimized Anticalin protein to treat anemia. Anticalin proteins, proprietary to Pieris, are a class of therapeutics validated in the clinic and partnerships with pharmaceutical companies. Anticalin is a registered trademark of Pieris.

5. 22nd Century Group, Inc. (XXII)

Source: Investopedia

22nd Century Group, Inc. (XXII), a plant biotechnology company that is a provider of tobacco harm reduction and development of proprietary hemp/cannabis strains, broke out above multi-year resistance near $1.50 in 2013, rallying to a record high a few months later at $6.36. The stock then began a persistent decline through August 2015 before finding support at 56 cents, followed by a bounce to $1.75.

The stock has traded within those boundaries for 22-months, bouncing at support three times and reversing at resistance in equal measure. The price returned to that level a fourth time, improving odds for a breakout that could double the price in the year’s second half.

22nd Century Group is a plant biotechnology company focused on genetic engineering and plant breeding that allows the increase or decrease of the level of nicotine in tobacco plants and the level of cannabinoids in cannabis plants. The company’s main goal in tobacco is to reduce the harm caused by smoking. The main goal in cannabis is to develop proprietary hemp/cannabis strains for new medicines and agricultural crops.

The stock last month joined the Russell Microcap Index, when FTSE Russell reconstituted its U.S. and global equity indexes. Membership in the Russell Microcap Index means automatic inclusion in the appropriate growth and value style indexes. FTSE Russell determines membership for its Russell indexes primarily by objective, market-capitalization rankings and style attributes.

6. Corindus Vascular Robotics, Inc. (CVRS)

Source: Investopedia

Corindus Vascular Robotics, Inc. (CVRS), a developer of precision vascular robotics, returned to the national market in 2015 following a trading halt, topping out around $4.50 and starting a decline that continued to reach new lows in January 2017 when it bottomed at around 40 cents. Since that time, the price activity has been constructive, with high volume rally bursts moving the stock into 2016 resistance at $1.75. The bullish behavior has created a cup and handle basing pattern that points to an uptrend into the 2015 high following a breakout.

Revenue for the first quarter of 2017 was $0.8 million compared to $1.1 million for the same period in the prior year. The decrease is due mainly to the deferral of system revenue associated with a future obligation to upgrade multiple customer units from the company’s CorPath 200 System to the CorPath GRX System.

The company installed three new CorPath Systems in the first quarter of 2017, increasing its total installed base to 48 CorPath Systems.

Gross loss was $1.1 million for the 2017 first quarter, compared to a gross profit of $0.03 million for the 2016 first quarter. The cost of revenues for the first 2017 quarter continued to include the effect of under-utilization of production facilities and the cost of CorPath GRX System upgrades that installed pursuant to pre-existing contractual arrangements.

The company continues to expect the full year 2017 revenue to be in the range of $13.

7. RADA Electronic Industries, Ltd. (RADA)

Source: Investopedia

RADA Electronic Industries, Ltd. (RADA), a defense electronics system of advanced electronic systems for airborne and land applications, fell into a multi-decade decline after it joined the Nasdaq in the 1990s. The stock ground out a series of lower highs and lows through January 2016’s all-time 54-cent low.

The stock spent 16 months moving sideways in a narrow basing pattern before turning higher in May 2017 and rallying back to 2016 resistance at $1.78. The bullish activity completed a cup and handle breakout pattern that could point to a fast rally into the August 2015 gap between $3.70 and $2.50.

Revenues totaled $4.7 million in the 2017 first quarter, up 91% compared to revenues of $2.5 million in the first quarter of 2016.

Gross profit totaled $1.7 million in the first 2017 quarter of 2017, a gross margin of 35.7%, compared to gross profit of $6,000 (gross margin of 0.2%) in the 2016 first quarter.

Operating income was $0.4 million in the first 2017 quarter compared to an operating loss of $1 million in the 2016 first quarter.

Net income attributable to RADA’s shareholders in the 2017 first quarter was $0.4 million, $0.02 per share, versus a net loss of $1.8 million, or $0.23 per share, in the 2016 first quarter.

8. ChromaDex, Corp. (CDXC)

Source: Investopedia

ChromaDex, Corp. (CDXC), a provider of proprietary health, wellness and nutritional ingredients, that creates science-based solutions to dietary supplement, food and beverage, skin care, sports nutrition and pharmaceutical products, went public in April 2016 at $4.70. The stock rallied to an all-time high at $6.18 in May, then fell one month later to $2.46 in a single session, eventually posting a lower December low. It tested that support level in April 2017, then turned sharply higher, now testing 2017 resistance at $3.80. A breakout could point to a significant upside, taking the stock back to last year’s high.

For the first quarter of 2017, ChromaDex reported net sales of $4.4 million, a decrease of 39% compared to the same period of 2016, due mainly to decreased sales in its ingredients business segment, as a result of dropping its largest customer for fiscal year 2016. The ingredients segment created net sales of $2.1 million for Q1 2017, a decline of 55%, compared to the same 2016 period.

The net loss attributable to common stock holders for Q1 2017 was $1.9 million or ($0.05) per share versus a net income of $0.3 million or $0.01 per share for Q1 2016.

In May, the company announced the closing of the $16.4 million second tranche of the strategic investment of up to $25 million led by Hong Kong business leader Li Ka-shing.

Li Ka-shing has invested in many innovative companies in the last decade, including Facebook, Spotify, DeepMind, Siri, Impossible Foods and Modern Meadow. The new investment will support future ChromaDex developments in the global marketplace.

The $16.4 million second tranche follows an initial $3.5 million tranche that closed on April 27, 2017.

9. Safe Bulkers, Inc. (SB)

Source: Investopedia

Safe Bulkers, Inc. (SB), a player in the hot and cold dry bulk shipping sector, topped out at $11.48 in March 2014, then entered a downtrend reaching an all-time low at 30 cents in January 2016. A recovery wave in November stalled at $2.38, followed by sideways action that has completed a small-scale cup and handle breakout pattern. A buying spike over $2.60 can be expected to set the upside into action, supporting a rally that could surpass $5.00.

The company declared a cash dividend of $0.50 per share on its 8.00% Series B, Series C and Series D Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Shares for the period from April 30, 2017 to July 29, 2017.

This is the 16th consecutive cash dividend declared on the company’s Series B Preferred Shares, the 13th cash dividend declared on its Series C Preferred Shares and the 12th cash dividend declared on its Series D Preferred Shares since their respective commencement of trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

10. Ballard Power Systems, Inc. (BLDP)

Source: Investopedia

Ballard Power Systems, Inc. (BLDP) is a provider of clean energy products that reduce customer costs and risks, and helps customers solve challenges in their fuel cell programs. The stock reached an all-time high at $144.95 in 2000 before falling into a downtrend lasting more than 12 years, sending the stock to an all-time low at 56 cents. A 2013 upward trend continued through 2014, hitting an 8-year high at $8.38, followed by a correction that’s now returned to 2015 resistance at $3.10. A breakout could catch fire, pushing the stock to a test of its 2014 high.

Total revenue was $22.7 million in the quarter, an increase of 39% from growth in both power products and technology solutions.

Gross margin was 42% in the quarter, an improvement of 22 points due to a shift in product mix toward higher margin technology solutions and heavy duty motive for the China market, including the establishment of a production line in Yunfu, China for the manufacture and assembly of FCvelocity-9SSL fuel cell stacks.

Cash operating costs were $10 million in the quarter, a 6% increase due to higher research and product development expenditures as well as a stronger Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. dollar, since a significant amount of cost is denominated in Canadian dollars.

Low-priced biotech stocks have risen following a long slumber, with steady buying interest likely to continue. This group should offer a variety of profitable penny stock plays during the quiet summer trading season, while low-priced stocks in other sectors move into narrow trading ranges.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest money you can't afford to lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here.



Feedback or Requests?

Continue Reading

Biotech

Silicon Valley’s War on Disease: Zuckerberg, Microsoft, Google to End Cancer and Aging

Published

on

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Silicon Valley is going to war against disease, cancer, aging, and perhaps even death, with advanced computing, AI and machine learning, genomics, DNA engineering, biotech and nanotech. Tech giants and mega-rich philanthropists are spending billions to permit hacking biology all the way down to DNA, and perhaps we could see breakthroughs in only a few years.

// -- Discuss and ask questions in our community on Workplace.

(more…)

Important: Never invest money you can't afford to lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here.



Feedback or Requests?

Continue Reading

Biotech

Child With Rare Disorder Receives ‘Bionic’ Hand Made By 3D-Printer

Published

on

A prosthetic hand made with 3D-printing technology has provided a functional right hand for a 6-year-old boy born with a rare disorder, according to Reuters. The boy, Lucas Abraham, showed his new “bionic” hand made for him by bioengineering students at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Ky.

// -- Discuss and ask questions in our community on Workplace.

https://twitter.com/ChristinaWLKY/status/674644673277857792/video/1

The child noted that it’s the best Christmas gift he’s ever received during a news conference at the university. Within minutes of receiving the hand, Abraham could grasp a ball. A video posted on Twitter shows Lucas getting some practice playing catch with a ball using his new hand. The boy will also be able to crash cymbals together in his music class.

Child Had Asked For A ‘Robo-Hand’

Abraham was born with Symbrachydactyly, a condition where a person does not have a fully-functioning hand or foot. The child was born without fingers on his right hand.

// -- Become a yearly Platinum Member and save 69 USD and get access to our secret group on Workplace. Click here to change your current membership -- //

He had asked for a “robo-hand” for years, a prosthetic device that would allow him to hold a piece of paper, grab a baseball and help him zip his jacket, according to the Courier Journal in Louisville.

Following months of work by the students, this week Abraham went to his school, Bowen Elementary School, wearing his “bionic” hand. The device uses tendon-like cords that allow the child to grip when bending his wrist.

The hand was the first made at the university, according to bioengineering professor Gina Bertocci, who noted that more such hands could be made. The university described the hand as “bionic.”

The 3D technology reduces the manufacturing cost. The plastics used, similar to Lego blocks plastics, enable the devices to be made in different colors, Bertocci noted.

Also read: Interview: The makers of a robotic hand that can ‘feel’

3D Printing Creates New Opportunities

3D printing made it possible to make the hands for less than $50 in materials versus thousands that would be required to make a traditional prosthetic hand, according to Bertocci.

The students created a digital version of the hand and used a 3D printer the size of a small refrigerator to ensure the hand was the right fit. It took more than 30 hours to print each hand.

Kids like the hand because it makes them look like a Transformer, Bertocci added.

e-NABLE, a global volunteer organization that prints and designs prosthetics, provided assistance to the students.

Three hands made of leather, plastic and wire were created to fit Abraham, who will keep two of them while the university will use the third hand for accreditation purposes.

The hands were given to the Abraham family for free.

Julie Abraham, the child’s grandmother, said he has displayed more self-confidence after receiving the hand. She had contacted the university in August to see if they could help him.

Image credit:

Important: Never invest money you can't afford to lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here.



Feedback or Requests?

Continue Reading

Trending